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Promise of the Flame (The Hidden Flame Book 2) [Kindle Edition]

Sylvia Engdahl

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Book Description

Three hundred people, isolated on a raw new planet in the hope that their psi powers will become the foundation of a culture that can someday shape the future of humankind. If they don't starve first. If they don't lose heart in the face of hardships beyond any they imagined. And if their kids can be reared to believe in the dream and advance both their technology and their psi powers from one generation to the next.

Starship captain Jesse Sanders hasn't expected to be responsible for the settlement. Peter is the leader, the visionary on whose inspiration they all depend. But Peter has his hands full, not only with maintaining morale but with grueling ordeals of his own. So the job of ensuring the colony's survival falls on Jesse. And in the end, he must stake his life in a desperate attempt to prevent the loss of all they have gained.

This is the second book in the Hidden Flame series, preceded by Stewards of the Flame, but it is different in some ways as it doesn't deal with the controversial view of healthcare on which Stewards is focused. Readers who don't share that view may therefore prefer to begin with it--it's an independent story that can stand alone, though reading it first will spoil some of the suspense of the preceding book. Unlike Sylvia Engdahl's earlier novels, these two are not Young Adult books and are not appropriate for middle-school readers.

Please note: The cover of this book was changed in April 2015. It is not a new edition, as the book itself has not changed.

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Product Description

About the Author

Sylvia Engdahl is the author of ten science fiction novels. Six of them are Young Adult books that are also enjoyed by adults, all of which were originally published by Atheneum and have been republished, in both hardcover and paperback, by different publishers in the twenty-first century. The one for which she is best known, Enchantress from the Stars, was a Newbery Honor book, winner of the 1990 Phoenix Award of the Children’s Literature Association, and a finalist for the 2002 Book Sense Book of the Year in the Rediscovery category. Her four newest novels, the Hidden Flame series and the Rising Flame series, are not YA books and are not appropriate for middle-school readers, but will be enjoyed by the many adult fans of her work.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1243 KB
  • Print Length: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Ad Stellae Books (10 Oct. 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004I1KQG0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #212,696 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Sylvia Engdahl is the author of ten science fiction novels, six of which are Young Adult novels that are also enjoyed by adults. The one for which she is best known, "Enchantress from the Stars," was a Newbery Honor book, winner of the 1990 Phoenix Award of the Children's Literature Association, and a finalist for the 2002 Book Sense Book of the Year in the Rediscovery category. In the UK she is known for the YA novel published there as "Heritage of the Star," which is currently available only under its original US title "This Star Shall Abide." Her four latest novels, "Stewards of the Flame," "Promise of the Flame," "Defender of the Flame," and "Herald of the Flame" are for adults. Recently, she has published an updated and expanded edition of her nonfiction book "The Planet-Girded Suns," first published in 1974 with the subtitle "Man's View of Other Solar Systems" and now subtitled "The History of Human Thought About Extrasolar Worlds." She is a strong advocate of space colonization and has maintained a widely-read space section of her website for many years. She also created the site, which contains quotations about why humankind must expand into space. From her home in Eugene, Oregon she now works as a freelance editor of nonfiction anthologies for high schools. She welcomes visitors to her website at

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  28 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outsoars its predecessor 30 May 2010
By Nicholas Birns - Published on
Sometimes one needs to read the entirety of a multi-book series to see its full accomplishment; Sylvia Engdahl's diptych, here concluded with PROMISE OF THE FLAME, is just one example. The gripping drama of the first volume, STEWARDS OF THE FLAME, continues; the standard science-fiction template of a band of rebels seeking out new terrain in outer space as a response to injustice at home is depicted with unusual realism (what happens to the dead bodies in the first chapter). Much like Ursula K. Le Guin's THE DISPOSESSED, this is a book written by somebody at once holding firm convictions as to the potential human life can have but with enough political intelligence to note that even a society far improved over its predecessor will have its own problems, will be only a half-utopia. But even a half-utopia equipped with freedom and the possibility for optimal human interconnection is better than a society that disciplines and denies these. For Engdahl, there is such a thing as a fairer and wiser sense of life, which can be at least partially realized by thoughtful cognition and spirited hope. Engdahl embodies this dynamic in characters that we care about and whose different individual temperaments and abilities contribute to the suspense of the story. An added pleasure is the clear resemblance of the quest of the colonies to the history of the United States; Engdahl's measured patriotism sounds an apt tone at a time of national reconsideration, and shows that space exploration is not a budgetary frippery, as so many have recently cast it. As with all of Engdahl's work, science-fiction fans will recognize the tropes she uses, but it is not just `for' them, no more than the work of a great artist who happens to work in, say, ceramics is just for adepts of that medium. Engdahl has produced high-quality work over a forty-year period, but this is one of her finest achievements.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing sequel to "Stewards of the Flame" 2 Oct. 2010
By Sunny Leap - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book fulfills the promise of the psi society of the earlier book who called themselves the "stewards of the flame". This group had escaped from an Orwellian planet where every aspect of a person's health is monitored, to create their own psi civilization on an uninhabited planet. They realized that a culture of emerging mind powers would not reach its true potential as a subset of an archetypal technological society modeled after Earth, where psi powers were disbelieved or treated as mental aberrations. Their plan was to develop their culture for two hundred years in isolation before regaining contact with others. Their founder's vision was also contingent upon the advancement of technology along with psychic powers so that their civilization would be seen as a culture to be emulated, not as a backward society to be studied by anthropologists. In many ways, the technological advancement is even more difficult to achieve than either the development of a viable society or of their mind powers but as Peter, their charismatic leader, points out, "Evolution means moving forward on all fronts."

"The long-range goal has always been to demonstrate that psi and volitional mind control can improve people's lives without lowering their standard of living."

Because of their need for secrecy and haste, the new planet is not a terraformed paradise prepared for normal colonization. The pioneer group must work hard, with many setbacks, to create a comfortable living out of an undeveloped planet. Some of the most enlightening scenes occur in the footsteps of a disaster that is used to further understanding and progress. These surprising twists are well done, embracing the good while dealing with the bad. There is a lot of introspective analysis, understandable as we're dealing with powers of the mind and creating a culture with no precedent, so some parts might be considered slow to people who are used to reading a fast-paced adventure story. This edition also needed a better editor. However, the story is thought provoking and well-worth reading more than once.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything I Want in a Great Read! 9 Mar. 2010
By Robert Haven - Published on
I just finished "Promise of the Flame" and all I can feel right now is "wow!" What a great story with thought-provoking themes and heroic characters. The suspense is so much fun, I couldn't put the book down through the last couple of hundred pages when the action and pacing really picked up!

What a pleasure it is to read science fiction that doesn't deal with dark and depressing subjects like warfare and end-of-the-world scenarios, like most SF. In this book, characters strive to create a new world and a new society, overcoming tremendous odds and demanding the best of human thinking and action. Evil and enemies also exist, and must be dealt with for the survival of the new civilization, and these conflicts raise interesting moral questions.

Although I suppose you could read this book without reading the prequel first, I think you would regret doing so. I'm sure you'll enjoy "Promise of the Flame" so much that you'll surely want to read the prequel "Stewards of the Flame", so why not start out right and read them in the correct sequence?

Highly recommended!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very thought provoking 2 Aug. 2013
By Deborah Barton - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was written just before all the debate on current health care reform and provides one possible outcome to the current way things are looking -- and it is very chilling and alarming. Written like some of the old Sci Fi dons - the basis of the story is a planet with mandatory health care and a non allowance for bodies to die. The story is about those that do not agree with that philosophy. Not really "science fiction" as much as fiction occurring on a different planet.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANT 27 May 2014
By Alex Sparasci - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
To begin with I actually purchased this book [shock!] after reading the first of the trilogy as a freebee ~ this doesn't happen often!! I won't go into details as the description more than adequately covers it but I am now going to purchase the third of the trilogy ... note the 'purchase' bit ... this is the biggest recommendation I could EVER give :-) Read the first one and, if you enjoy it, I can promise this one will not disappoint.
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